Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Discrimination Against Black, Female Caregivers

According to the EEOC, caregiving responsibilities disproportionately affect working women and their effects may be even more pronounced among some women of color, particularly African American women, who have a long history of working outside the home.

African American mothers with young children are more likely to be employed than other women raising young children, and both African American and Hispanic women are more likely to be raising children in a single-parent household than are White or Asian American women. Women of color also may devote more time to caring for extended family members, including both grandchildren and elderly relatives, than do their White counterparts.

Sure, discrimination against caregivers is a problem that can impact anyone in the workplace, male or female. But, it represents a particular issue for Black, female caregivers. In fact, caregiver discrimination against a Black worker (or Hispanic, etc.) might be compounded by other forms of discrimination such as race, color, gender, etc.

For instance, A Black, female worker, who is a single parent/caregiver may be discriminated against because of stereotypes about working mothers or single parents. AND, she may also be discriminated against because her supervisor has racist beliefs and/or stereotypes about Blacks and women.

Women of color also may be subjected to intersectional discrimination that is specifically directed toward women of a particular race or ethnicity, rather than toward all women, resulting, for example, in less favorable treatment of an African American working mother than her White counterpart.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination not just because of one protected trait (e.g., race), but also because of the intersection of two or more protected bases (e.g., race and sex). For example, Title VII prohibits discrimination against African American women even if the employer does not discriminate against White women or African American men. The law also prohibits individuals from being subjected to discrimination because of the intersection of their race and a trait covered by another EEO statute – e.g., race and disability, or race and age.

If you suspect that you are the victim of caregiver discrimination and/or intersectional discrimination (e.g., a Black, female caregiver), you should report your suspicions to someone in authority at your organization or to Human Resources. Or, you can file a complaint with an outside agency like EEOC or the Office of Human Rights or you can seek the counsel of an attorney.

Sources: and

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Filing a Complaint with the EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has a statute of limitations for when a person (complainant) must file a complaint alleging employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, etc. A complaint must be filed with the EEOC either 180 or 300 days after an alleged unlawful employment practice. The timing is based on whether or not the complaining employee lives in an area covered by a fair employment practice agency (FEPA). There are more than 100 state and local Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs). The EEOC has cooperative relationships with all but a few of them.

The EEOC and the FEPAs it works with have reached Worksharing Agreements that divide up their common workload of charges in order to avoid duplication of charge processing. Each charge of discrimination that is covered by both an EEOC-enforced statute and the FEPAs law or ordinance is dual-filed under both laws, regardless of which agency receives it. These dual-filed charges are typically investigated by only one agency. This way, employers avoid two investigations of the same matter, but the legal rights of the complaining employee are still preserved under both laws. (Blogger note: I filed my complaint with the Office of Human Rights (OHR). My complaint was jointly filed with the EEOC, but is being investigated by OHR—not by both agencies.)

If the alleged violation arose in a state or locality that does not have a FEPA with the authority to grant relief, a charge must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the violation.

If the alleged violation arose in a state or locality that does have a FEPA, a charge must be filed with the EEOC or a FEPA within 300 days of the violation.

The EEOC filing period can be extended under certain circumstances. For instance, the complaining employee may have had a lack of knowledge about the EEOC process, which caused a delay in filing in a timely manner. Or, an employer may have engaged in behavior that prevented an employee from filing an EEOC complaint in a timely manner.

The statutory time limits may be extended, or "tolled," for equitable reasons where the complaining employee was understandably unaware of the EEO process or of important facts that should have led him or her to suspect discrimination.

Grounds for equitable tolling include: not having a reason to suspect discrimination at the time of an employment action/incident, mental incapacity, misleading information or mishandling of charge by the EEOC or FEPA and/or the timely filing of a complaint—in the wrong forum.
Individuals who are represented by counsel during the relevant time frame will have difficulty establishing a right to tolling.


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Monday, October 29, 2007

Reporting Harassment is Not Just the Obligation of the Victim

When you’re being harassed and subjected to a hostile work environment, part of what happens is that you often feel isolated and you have fears (rational and irrational) that no one will believe the severity of the harm that you’re being subjected to at work. You feel like you have a bulls-eye on your back and you may feel like there’s nothing you can do to stop being a target. In fact, you may feel that reporting the harassment will do more harm that good.

Let’s face it. Many people, regardless of race, are afraid to report sensitive issues to a supervisor, manager, director or a member of Human Resources. People are afraid to look like a whiner, a troublemaker or, when it comes to race, a race-baiter.

When it comes to harassment in the workplace, it would be great if you would report the harassment to your supervisor. However, if you supervisor is the problem, you do not have to stay within your chain of command in order to deal with the problem. You have the right to speak to anyone in authority within your company.

So, if you are more comfortable with another supervisor or manager, you can report harassment to that person. According to Federal decisions, these individuals are then required to do something with that information. They can’t just sit on your report of harassment. If they do, this will increase your employer’s liability regarding any mistreatment you suffer. Therefore, these individuals are expected to report allegations of harassment (or discrimination or retaliation) to the proper authorities within the company, who can deal with the situation.

It’s also important to know that Federal decisions have declared that employers are liable for harassing behavior that may not have been reported, but was so pervasive that many people within the company knew what was happening. Employers, in this situation, cannot claim that a victim’s failure to report the harassment justified the company not putting a stop to the abuse. If knowledge of the abusive behavior permeated the workplace, employers can't pretend they didn't have an opportunity to stop it.

Employers can argue that an employee should have complained about mistreatment. However, if you had a reason to fear using preventive or corrective measures, such as you saw a previous employee attempt to report harassment, but the harassment or other illegal behavior only worsened, you won’t be held responsible for avoiding the use of those preventive and corrective measures. The law recognizes, in some part, that a rational person would take the lesson of corporate abuse of authority and would avoid making themselves a target of attack.

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IN THE NEWS: Officer Fired for "Ghetto Handbook"

The Associated Press has reported that a Houston cop has been fired for creating and disseminating a so-called Ghetto Handbook.

The 8-page document was handed out to school police officers. The purpose of the handbook was to help officers speak as if they “just came out of the hood.” In fact, the subtitle of the book was:

“Wucha Dun Did Now?”

The officer/author was an 11-year gang investigator. School officials say the incident was an egregious violation of their standards of conduct and decency.


IN THE NEWS: KKK Cop Hit with Lawsuit

A Hoboken, New Jersey police lieutenant is alleged to be a White supremacist, according to 5 fellow police officers. Allegations against Lt. Angelo Andriani include that he tormented Hispanic subordinates, used racial slurs, and would put on a makeshift KKK mask that was made from a napkin. There is a photo of the officer with the hood/napkin.

The lieutenant even sent an email to a Louisiana councilwoman telling her to “keep up the good work” regarding “some Afro-Americans in a little town that are going to jail for 20 years for beating up a White boy.” The councilwoman was shocked by the various emails she received and forwarded them to another detective.

A lawsuit was filed, last Wednesday, alleging that Lt. Andriani frequently used the word “ni**ger,” called White women who dated Black men “pigs,” and declared that Whites are superior to other races. The lieutenant is also formally accused of forcing two detectives to do chores at his home, while on duty. He allegedly threatened to “bury” anyone, who crossed him.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

LEGAL BRIEFS: Walgreens Agrees to $20 Million Settlement

In July 2007, the EEOC announced a $20 million proposed consent decree resolving a systemic race discrimination lawsuit against Walgreens, the Illinois-based national drug store chain.

The proposed settlement was filed with U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy of the Southern District of Illinois, with a request for his preliminary approval (EEOC v. Walgreen Co., S.D. Il. 07-CV-172-GPM and Tucker v. Walgreen Co., S.D. Il. 05-CV-440-GPM).

The EEOC’s suit alleged that Walgreens discriminated against African American retail management and pharmacy employees in promotion, compensation and assignment. In addition to the monetary relief for an estimated 10,000 class members, the consent decree prohibits store assignments based on race. The decree is subject to final approval by Judge Murphy following a fairness hearing.

“We commend Walgreens for working cooperatively with us to reach an amicable settlement of this case without protracted litigation,” EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp said. “We believe this is a satisfactory resolution for all parties.”

Walgreens’ CEO, Jeffrey A. Rein, said, “We are pleased to reach a resolution that is consistent with our past and future diversity and equal opportunity objectives. Our company was built on principles of fairness and equality, and we do not tolerate discrimination in any aspect of employment including store assignment, compensation and promotion opportunities. In fact, we’re a drugstore industry leader when it comes to the employment and promotion of African American managers and pharmacists.”

Private plaintiffs’ counsel, Tiffany B. Klosener of Foland, Wickens, Eisfelder, Roper & Hofer, said, “Walgreens is a rapidly growing company with lots of opportunity for its employees. We look forward to working with Walgreens to promote fair and equal employment opportunities for all employees.”


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IN THE NEWS: "Phishing" Scam Involving Phony EEOC Email

On October 19th, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notified the business community and general public to a "phishing" e-mail circulating to companies that purports to be from the federal agency regarding a harassment complaint. The bogus e-mail contains a Trojan Horse Virus that is likely to harm a recipient's computer if the user clicks on the referenced web link and/or downloads the attached file.

The phony e-mail to employers -- being circulated under the subject "Harassment Complaint Update For"-- contains links where the respondent can allegedly access details of a fake discrimination claim. The EEOC has reported the issue to appropriate authorities.

The EEOC's policy is to notify an employer of the filing of a charge of employment discrimination using the U.S. Postal System. Because of security concerns, the EEOC does not notify employers of the filing of a charge of discrimination via e-mail. Consequently, if a company receives an e-mail notification which purports to advise the respondent of the filing of a charge of employment discrimination with the EEOC, the federal agency urges users to delete it immediately.

The contents of the phishing e-mail include an EEOC logo under the subject line and contain purported language from the EEOC under a subject heading, "Employer Liability for Harassment." Excerpts of the phishing e-mail are highlighted below:

FROM: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

SUBJECT: "Harassment Complaint Update For"

This is an automated email that confirms the registration of harassment complaint #number...this harassment complaint can lead to law enforcement action. You can download and print a copy of this complaint to keep for your personal records here...Our staff will keep you updated regarding the status of our investigation...To check the status of your complaint access:

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its official web site at


Monday, October 22, 2007

Always Maintain a High Level of Credibility!

Most people, who’ve become a target at work, can tell some real horror stories about how far a supervisor, executive or a company—as a whole—was willing to go in order to deny them a promotion, set them up for termination, etc.

They can also tell you stories about how bold many workers at a company are and how they often eagerly participate in activities with a supervisor or on behalf of the company. The level of complicity is staggering, when it comes to the networks that are built with the sole purpose of getting rid of an employee, trying to get the company out of legal jeopardy, etc.

I worked at a company that was found guilty of retaliating against a Black manager. The company was found guilty of illegal behavior that included creating false documentation (e.g., falsifying timesheets in a malicious attempt to show the manager had been absent without official leave). This employer also went as far as creating documentation of fabricated and malicious performance deficiencies that did not exist. All of this false documentation served the sole purpose of trying to create a pretext (read: a legitimate reason) for why supervisors, HR staff, and others were targeting this Black manager. Luckily, it didn’t work.

But, sometimes it does.

Regardless of whatever kind of shady activities any coworker, supervisor, manager, director, executive, etc. is engaging in at work, it’s up to you to maintain the high road by remaining truthful about your situation on the job.

Let the liars lie. Let the schemers scheme. You can’t control anyone, but yourself. So, when people are lying on you and scheming against you, your best bet is to be very observant, to keep your ears open, and to document everything.

Here’s the deal. Any internal or external investigator or an attorney is going to try to get to the truth of what has taken place at a company. Part of finding the truth will include phone interviews, face-to-face interviews, discussions with witnesses, an examination of evidence (charts, instructions, emails, memos, etc.) and other factors. When everything is said and done, someone will be determined to be truthful and someone’s allegations will be found to be without merit.

Don’t let that person be you!

When people are lying about you and destroying your reputation and career at work, it is tempting to try to hit back at them as hard as they are coming at you. But, you can’t sink to the level of dirty water. Think about it…

Unless you are working at some little rinky-dink company, your employer is likely going to have a lot of manpower and other resources to commit to bringing you down, slandering your reputation, setting you up for failure to justify negative employment actions (including termination), and to pretty much do whatever is ordered by those in authority.

You don’t and won’t have those kinds of resources and support. So, the best thing you can do is to be aware of your rights, to document everything, to keep lists of witnesses to back up your story, to tape record conversations, to save important emails, memos, instructions, offensive phone messages, etc. as a way to prove that you are being subjected to illegal mistreatment.

Never submit to the temptation to stretch the truth or outright lie. One fabrication revealed by a 3rd party (investigator or attorney) will shatter your credibility and make you look like a flat out liar and troublemaker. Lies can turn the case in favor of your employer, who might have been found guilty of misconduct...if you’d stuck to the facts!

It’s hard enough to get people to believe race-based complaints. So, do not give your employer ammunition and don’t set yourself up to be disbelieved based on a white lie or a major lie. Instead, focus on revealing the lies being told by a coworker, supervisor or anyone else at your job, who is engaging in a cover-up or who is targeting you solely based on your race. Put your energy into refuting your employer’s claims that nothing happened or that your performance, attitude or behaviors somehow justified negative employment actions.

Also, remember that, when it comes to race, there are some White people who will give another White person the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of serious evidence of race-based misconduct. There are also some Black people, who do not believe that racism exists--except in the minds of race-baiting Blacks, who they think like to be vicitms. You don't know who you will encounter and what perspective they are bringing to the table.

Assuming a 3rd party investigating your complaint is not the most open-minded person on the planet, your job is to make it hard for that person to ignore the facts and to ignore the truth of what has happened at your job. If a 3rd party says that they have found no evidence of race-based discrimination or harassment, you can file an appeal (usually for an internal or external investigation). During the appeal, it may be revelaed that errors or biases wrongly impacted the findings in your case. But, again, your truthfulness will go a long way to showing your case has merit.

Remember: Keep your eyes on the prize. Stay strong. And, speak truth to power!

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Friday, October 19, 2007

IN THE NEWS: Mr. Watson, Your Slip is Showing...Blacks May Not Be Intellectually Equal to Whites!

An American scientist, James Watson, has issued an apology, stating, "I am mortified about what has happened…more importantly, I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said… To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologize unreservedly. That is not what I meant. More importantly from my point of view, there is no scientific basis for such a belief."

Well, what did Mr. Watson say?

The trouble began after the Sunday Times Magazine of London quoted Mr. Watson, a molecular biologist, as saying that he's "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really."

While he hopes everyone is equal, Mr. Watson also says, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true."

Oh, really?!

Mr. Watson, 79, is chancellor of the prestigious Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. In other words, he specializes in DNA. Late Thursday, the lab's board said it had suspended Watson's administrative responsibilities pending further deliberation.

Mr. Watson was overseas promoting his new book, but has since had to return home because of the furor over his remarks. Mr. Watson is not a stranger to controversy. According to a British article, he once claimed that sex drive was connected to skin color, hence, Blacks have a higher libido.

Way to go feeding stereotypes! Anyway, Mr. Watson had to come back to the US in shame because his interview caused outrage in Britain.

David Lammy, the government's skills minister, said "It is a shame that a man with a record of scientific distinction should see his work overshadowed by his own irrational prejudices," Lammy said. "It is no surprise to me that the scientific community has condemned this outburst, and I think people will recognize these comments for what they are."

Mr. Watson’s comments about the people who have to deal with black employees supposedly knowing that Blacks may be intellectually inferior reminds me of the White woman, who said that White workers have to release an anti-stress hormone in order to cope with Black coworkers.

It must be nice to live in fantasy land by imagining that your race is genetically superior to others AND so much so that they are routinely frustrated and stressed out to the point where they must release special hormones in order to deal with the dregs of the global society. Whatever gets you through the day, huh?

Sources: and

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IN THE NEWS: Glamour Magazine Editor Apologizes for Insensitive Comments on Wearing Natural Black Hair in the Workplace

In June, a Glamour Magazine staffer was a speaker at a law firm’s Woman’s Working Group Meeting. She was asked to discuss corporate dress. The Glamour staffer proceeded to conduct a presentation, where the first slide in the presentation featured a black female executive wearing an Afro. According to a quote in The American Lawyer, the Glamour staffer said that “it was shocking that some people still think it appropriate to wear those hairstyles at the office. No offense ... but those political hairstyles really have to go." In summary, the Glamour staffer said that afros were a “Glamour Don’t!”

Glamour Magazine posted a Letter from the Editor in response to the overwhelmingly negative attention the magazine received, once news of the comments spread over the Internet. Apparently, Glamour Magazine did not know that this staffer was invited to speak at the meeting and that she was attending as a representative of Glamour magazine. Part of Glamour’s response included this:

Many of you who heard accounts of the presentation wrote us to ask, essentially: What’s up with this, Glamour? (Our own staffers, startled by the episode, had the same questions.) I’ve read every one of your letters. Just to give you a sampling: “First off,” wrote one woman, “our natural hairstyles, as the word implies, are NATURAL! We were born with them! We did not come out of our mother’s womb with a perm!” Many felt saddened by the remarks: “I have always looked to your magazine for diversity and thought-provoking articles, but the thought of one of your editors being culturally idiotic makes me shake my head. As much as I love you as a magazine…I’m a bit surprised.” And one woman, referring to the straightening process for some African American women’s hair, wrote, “The person who gave this presentation should be sat down in a beauty shop and forced to have her hair pressed and curled with lots of [hair oil], every week for a month. I bet she would not write anything so ill-thought out again.”

As much as I regret this incident, I’m proud to edit a magazine with such outspoken and impassioned readers. Glamour is planning a roundtable in an upcoming issue for women to share their views on the topics—about women, beauty and race—raised by this episode. I hope you’ll read it, and participate in the discussion. Thank you for your letters…

For the full Glamour response, see the following link:

What do you think about the comments regarding afros/natural hairstyles and the workplace?

Source: Diversity, Inc.


The No FEAR Act of 2002

The Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation Act of 2002 (also known as the No FEAR Act) was signed by President George W. Bush on May 15, 2002. The No FEAR Act requires that Federal agencies be accountable for violations of antidiscrimination and whistleblower protection laws and requires that each Federal agency post on its web site certain statistical data relating to Federal sector equal employment opportunity complaints filed against the agency.

The Findings of the 107th Congress under the No FEAR Act included the determinations that Federal agencies cannot be run effectively if those agencies practice or tolerate discrimination and that Congressional testimony from individuals, including representatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Federation of Government Employees, pointed to chronic problems of discrimination and retaliation against Federal employees.

Federal agencies have specific obligations under the No FEAR Act, including:

--An agency must provide annual notice to its employees, former employees, and applicants for Federal employment concerning the rights and remedies applicable to them under the employment discrimination and whistleblower protection laws;

--At least every two years, an agency must provide training to its employees, including managers, regarding the rights and remedies available under the employment discrimination and whistleblower protection laws; and

--An agency must submit to Congress, EEOC, the Department of Justice, and OPM, an annual report setting forth information about the agency's efforts to improve compliance with the employment discrimination and whistleblower protection laws and detailing the status of complaints brought against the agency under these laws.

For the full text of the NO FEAR Act, you can visit the Government Printing Office web site link at:

For more general information about the NO FEAR Act, take a look at the EEOC’s No Fear Act Question and Answer Sheet at

To see No Fear Data on Federal Agency web sites, take a look at the EEOC web page: for links to many agencies.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Some Final Things To Think About

Here are a few more things to think about, if you decide to make a race-based complaint at work. We’re up to #7:

7) Give serious consideration to your choice of words because your words can come back to haunt you. Any common expression in the English language can be manipulated into some other warped translation that can be used against you. If you know you are going to attend a meeting about a race-based issue, prepare a list of talking points as if you were preparing for a press conference and fielding questions from a skeptical media. Write down the issues you want to hit on and the specific points you want to make. Don’t leave this to chance…think about what you want to say and the best way to say it!

8) Think about being “Dr. Phil’ed.” If you’re making a race-based complaint, don’t be surprised if you’re treated like you’re on a shrink’s couch. Be prepared to hear critical analysis of your psyche and inner most thoughts as if the strangers you work with know you better than you know yourself. Be prepared to hear claims that “We know you’re very…” and “Everyone thinks you are…” that are not supported by any facts—just alleged perceptions. Speaking of perceptions, remember that perceptions ARE NOT reality—no matter how much everyone pretends they are! Reality is reality.

9) Think about how you will cope with possibly becoming a pariah at work. If you rock the boat, some of your coworkers—even other Black workers—may decide they want to toss you overboard. You may find your lunch buddies ignoring you. Everyone may be in a meeting or going to a meeting, when you approach their cubicle or office. Coworkers may take the stairs, instead of sharing the elevator with you. You get the picture. Make sure you have a strong network of friends outside of your job because your work friends may be fair-weather friends. You can email these outside of work friends from your Internet account. Keep in mind, your employer may be recording your computer keystrokes. If you call your outside friends, do it from your cell phone and not the office phone. Keep the calls quick and discreet--even if that means stepping outside for a few minutes.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A Few MoreThings to Think About!

Continuing with yesterday’s post, here are more things to think about prior to making a complaint of race-based misconduct or abuse. We start with tip #4:

4) Think about not appearing defensive. Always remember that on many jobs Whites explain and Blacks “defend.” The “you’re being defensive” line is often thrown around left and right, particularly against Black workers who are making complaints. You can’t stop someone from using this stereotype-driven argument against you, but you can definitely hurt their cause and take away any ammunition they might use against you by being very clear about what has happened and by not showing anything that can be construed as an “attitude.” Is that fair? No, it’s not. Do you have a right to be angry, frustrated, etc. because someone who has treated you in a racist manner or discriminated against you? Of course! But, reality is reality.

Having had to respond to a company’s arguments against me, including the “defensive” stereotype, I can tell you that I definitely helped my cause by never actually behaving in a defensive manner. This made it harder for my employer to prove the claim was true and it hurt their credibility. There’s nothing they could point to that I wrote or said, which could actually be called defensive. As a result, they had to describe behavior that would require a huge stretch of the imagination before it would truly fall into what anyone perceived as defensive behavior.

You should focus on being clear in your writing or speech, making point-by-point arguments to prove your point of view, and taking any so-called questionable language out of your writing or speech (e.g., name-calling, etc.).

5) Think about not portraying yourself as “sensitive” because sensitive often goes hand and hand with “defensive.” As a Black worker, you should try not to be overly emotional. If you aren’t described as being unable to take so-called constructive criticism (read: you are labeled as “defensive”), you will likely be described by another stereotype, which is “sensitive.” When a Black worker complains of race-based mistreatment, they are frequently morphed into someone who is either a loose cannon or a person who is overly sensitive and incapable of dealing with the most rudimentary conversations/feedback. Fight those stereotypes by being mindful of these employer-based red herrings. Don’t give your employer ammunition.

6) Think about not portraying yourself as “defensive” and “sensitive.” Yes, you can be portrayed as both a loose cannon and a person with childlike emotions, who turns to melodrama at the drop of a hat. Conduct yourself professionally at all times and think about the fact that you are always being watched. It doesn’t matter if you are being watched or not. However, being mindful of the fact that you might be under heightened scrutiny can help you keep any bursts of emotion in check. Remember, being under a race-based attack is like being subjected to psychological warfare. Your enemy is looking to exploit your weaknesses. They will often do that by lying, exaggerating reality/twisting facts, and by relying on stereotypes. Don’t give legitimate ammunition to any false claims being currently made about you. Know the stereotypes and stay away from behaving like one. In other words, no eye-rolling in meetings, etc. Yes, that’s a stereotype, but I’ve seen it used as ammunition against a Black female worker in employer-written documentation.

More things to think about will be discussed tomorrow.

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IN THE NEWS: Black High School Football Players Greeted with Racial Slur

NEW YORK--Black high school football players were at an away game, when they spotted a racist slur written on the visitor’s bench. “You ni**as suck…” was the disgusting message left for the Harlem Hellfighters. The team was set to play the McKee-Staten Island Tech Seagulls.

The referee at the game demanded that the bench be removed. The Hellfighter’s coach complained that the bench was part of a crime scene and should not be removed because he had called the police to come to the scene to investigate. However, with the backing of the principal, the bench was taken away. Many players were forced to stand for the entire football game.

The principal suggested that the Hellfighters just forget the incident.

The Hellfighters went on to win the game. After the victory, the Hellfighters refused to shake hands with the opposing team.


Monday, October 15, 2007

You Better Think...

Aretha Franklin was right, when she sang, “You better think…”

When it comes to dealing with racism in the workplace, those 3 words should be at the forefront of every victim’s mind, except when you are combatting racism, you better think about what you're trying to accomplish (revealing racist words or actions, convincing members of authority to investigate a serious race-based issue, etc.).

Some racists in the workplace just come up with spur-of-the moment nonsense to say and do to Black coworkers. Other racists spend time proactively thinking of ways to target the Blacks they work with. For instance, they might spend time trying to figure out how to stop a Black coworker from getting a raise or promotion. Or, they might think of ways to prevent a Black coworker from getting a high profile assignment. Or, they might think of ways to sabotage a Black coworker who’s working on an assignment with them. Or, they could be contemplating ways to slander a Black coworker to other coworkers in the department or across the company, as a whole. I’ve seen all of those scenarios played out during my years of employment.

Regardless of whether or not a race-related incident at work was thought up on the spot or was premeditated, the fact is that Black workers have got to put some serious thought into how they will respond. Black workers must be very strategic about handling these sensitive issues.

So, whether you’ve been called an offensive name or have had someone work at every turn to prevent you from receiving advancement opportunities, Black workers must think about not only how they will respond, but to whom, and in what venue (face-to-face, via memo, etc.).

When Black workers complain about race-based issues, one of the common tactics that is used by authorities at work is to not focus on what the Black worker is saying, but on how they’ve said it/how they’ve voiced the complaint. It often doesn’t matter if the complaint is made in person or in writing. A White person, who is determined to marginalize or ignore a race-based incident, can find ways to make the Black person appear to be part of the problem, appear to be exaggerating, appear to be misunderstanding the situation, etc.

So, for today, here are 3 things to think about when making race-based complaints in person or in writing:

1) Think about the timing—don’t wait too long to complain. If you wait too long to voice a complaint about a serious race-based issue, don’t be surprised if the seriousness of the problem isn’t brought into question. Why did you wait? Even though we all know that workers fear retaliation for complaining (especially about race-related matters) and fear that they will be perceived as a troublemaker or race-baiter, people will often question why someone has hesitated to make a complaint about a very serious matter. Legally, fear of retaliation is considered reasonable, particularly if a worker has witnessed or heard of other complaining employees being subjected to retaliatory actions by an employer. In fact, you are not legally obligated to complain. However, there is an expectation that workers will complain about mistreatment. So, again, while it is understandable that you might hesitate, be sure to complain about your issue as soon as possible.

2) Think about explaining the specifics—don’t just burst into someone’s office saying that so-and-so is a racist. While, that may be true, you should always work to give context to any such claims of racism. Give specific examples of racist behavior. And, think about what you are labeling as racist activity. Make sure you are not dealing with personality issues. If you are dealing with a person, who treats everyone in the same horrible fashion and treats everyone EQUALLY as bad (not focusing more extreme attention on Blacks), then deal with the issue of an insensitive and bullying coworker as opposed to racism. If, in fact, you are sure you are combating workplace racism, then that’s what you should address. Think about your issue and be specific about what is happening and what is wrong. Give details, so that it is hard to dispute your point of view.

3) Think about the impact—describe how your work and work environment is being impacted by any racist words or actions. For instance, race-based slander or stereotyping may be causing conflict with work relationships that had previously been very positive. Discrimination with promotions is stifling your ability to advance, is stifling your pay, and is harming your career path with your employer. Speak about the harm being caused on a professional and personal level, so that it is difficult to marginalize your complaint and experiences.

I’ll be providing more tips in tomorrow’s post.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 23

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 23 are the rules that govern civil cases in U.S. District Courts (Federal courts). As I mentioned in a recent post, this would include civil cases filed against an employer in a class action lawsuit or with a sole complainant.

Even though federal courts are required to apply the laws of the states as rules of decision in cases where state law is in question, the federal courts almost always use the FRCP as their rules of procedure.

The FRCP contains a list of the prerequisites for filing a class action complaint. For instance, the FRCP states:

One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all only if (1) the class is so numerous that joinder* of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

In other words, one or two employees filing suit against an employer can do so on behalf of all of the participants in the suit because:

1) There are a large number of participants that make individual suits impractical;
2) There are similar legal issues and facts among the participants;
3) The arguments/defenses of the representatives are similar/typical of the participants in the class action suit; and
4) The representatives will look out for the best interests of everyone involved in the class action suit in a fair and equitable manner.

The FRCP contains 86 rules, which are grouped into 13 chapters. These chapters include:

I. Scope of Rules--One Form of Action

II. Commencement of Action; Service of Process, Pleadings, Motions, and Orders

III. Pleadings and Motions

IV. Parties

V. Depositions and Discovery

VI. Trials

VII. Judgment

VIII. Provisional and Final Remedies

IX. Special Proceedings

X. District Courts and Clerks

XI. General Provisions

XII. Appendix of Forms

XIII. Supplemental Rules for Certain Admiralty and Maritime Claims

If you’re trying to find specific information about the rules governing civil lawsuits, the Cornell Law School web site contains the rules for each chapter of the FRCP. The link is:

There is also a permanent link to the FRCP in the Links section of this blog.

· Joinder is a legal term which refers to the inclusion of additional counts or additional defendants on an indictment.

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IN THE NEWS: Mychal Bell is Back in Jail Today!

So-called “Jena 6” defendant, Mychal Bell, was ordered back to jail for 18 months. The judge, who ordered Bell to a juvenile facility, said that Mychal Bell’s participation in a school-yard fight was a violation of his parole on a previous juvenile conviction.

This 18-month sentence has nothing to do with the pending legal matter of Bell and 5 other youths being accused of jumping a White classmate, following nooses being hung in a school yard by White students. Any conviction/sentence in that case would be in addition to this penalty.

There seems to be strong determination—in the face of a major protest and a nationwide call for equality in the Jena judicial system—to keep Mychal Bell incarcerated for as long as humanly possible. The signal being sent is that Mychal Bell will have to kiss his teenage years goodbye.

All people are asking for is equality. This issue is going to demand more action and a larger spotlight being shined on Jena, Louisiana and its criminal justice system.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

IN THE NEWS: White Neighbor Threatens Black Kids with Hanging

QUEENS, NY -- An 18-year old Queens woman was arrested for calling her Black neighbor’s children ni**ers and threatening to hang them with a noose. According to the NY Daily News, the White woman, Christina Lindner, told the children’s mother, “I’m going to hang one of your kids with this rope.”

The police were called. They too heard Ms. Lindner make the threats and call the children ni**ers. Ms. Lindner was charged with second degree harassment and aggravated. The NYPD hate crime task force is investigating.

Source: NY Daily News, October 10, 2007,Woman nabbed for threat to kill Black neighbor’s kids, by Alison Gendar and Michael White.


IN THE NEWS: African Burial Ground National Monument Now Open

In 1991, during the construction of a Federal office building at 290 Broadway in Lower Manhattan, excavators unearthed the largest colonial-era cemetery for enslaved Africans in America. Fast forward to today and we now have a new national monument, which is a tribute to these slaves—the African Burial Ground National Monument. The monument serves as a permanent resting-place for the 419 slaves whose remains were found at the site.

It’s estimated that thousands of slaves still have their remains buried under office buildings, high rises, streets, and parking lots located around the bustling city.

The monument not only houses the remains of the slaves, but it also has artifacts recovered from the site. An interpretive center is being created to inform, engage, and enlighten visitors about the historical, archeological, and cultural findings surrounding the burial ground and New York's ancestral African community.

The official web site for this national monument is located at:

For more information, you can contact:

African Burial Ground National Monument
National Park Service
290 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 212-637-2019


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Class Action Lawsuits

At one point, a former coworker and I spoke to an attorney about a potential class action lawsuit alleging workplace discrimination by a former employer. What we learned is that, depending on the size of the company and the number of Black employees, some attorneys are looking for anywhere from 20-25 participants in a class action lawsuit as the minimum number of complainants required to consider taking the case. And, an attorney may ultimately want a larger number of employees to join the class action lawsuit as it progresses.

The issue for my coworker and I was that our job site was once an independent company that was acquired by another very large organization. Much of the work both companies did not overlap. And, for almost the first two years, there wasn’t a lot of work being done between coworkers of the two newly merged companies. The site we worked at was nearly completely disconnected from the majority of employees. Our job site employed about 8 Blacks on a full-time basis and about 2 Black employees on a part-time basis out of about 125-150 employees.

We had little to no interaction with employees at the other job sites, who were part of the parent-company. So, we had no idea how Blacks at the parent-company were treated and really had no way of targeting the employees to find out what—if anything—was going on as far as race-based discrimination, etc.

This put us at a real disadvantage, as far as trying to establish systematic discrimination versus systematic discrimination at one specific location. Nevertheless, based on the low number of Black employees at our site, we couldn’t even approach staff about a class action lawsuit. We just didn’t have the numbers to retain the services of an attorney.

Think of it this way, attorneys are often looking to prove that there is a systematic problem within a company—as opposed to a hiccup or isolated incident. Showing that many employees were treated in a discriminatory fashion is much more powerful than an isolated case that is atypical of what’s going on at company.

So, if you’re thinking of pursuing a class action lawsuit against your employer, you need to speak to other Black employees to get an understanding of where they come down on whatever issue is raging at your job and if they are willing to attach themselves to a civil suit.

If not, you can still talk to an attorney about any specific race-based discrimination, retaliation or harassment that you were subjected to. You can file as an individual, just as you can file as part of a larger group in a class action lawsuit.

If you are planning to speak to an attorney about a class action lawsuit, you should definitely be ready to provide the number of total employees, the number of Black employees, and the number of employees you’ve already spoken to, who are interested or willing to participate in a class action lawsuit.

Tomorrow I will be providing information on Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23, which governs civil lawsuits.

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As I’ve recently written, it seems that nooses are all the rage now.

At about 9:30 a.m. yesterday, a Black Columbia University professor, Madonna Constantine, arrived at her office to find a noose hanging from the door. Police are investigating whether students hung the noose on Professor Constantine’s door. But, a rival professor (White) is also under suspicion because of recent tension between the two professors.

Students and professors at the university are looking into holding protests and town hall meetings in response the incident.

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

For more details, here’s a link to an article on Yahoo!


IN THE NEWS: Possible Hate Crime at Gallaudet University

Washington, DC--Some recent “horseplay” in the dorms of Gallaudet University somehow went terribly wrong, when 6 White students and 1 Black student grabbed another Black student and held him captive in a room for nearly an hour. While there, the Black student had the letters “KKK” and swastikas scrawled all over his body. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.

Gallaudet is a university for deaf students.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

"Bit*ches" in the Workplace

The President of the New York Knicks basketball team and the head coach, Isaiah Thomas has been recently found guilty of sexual harassment in the workplace. The complainant in the case was Anucha Browne Sanders. Part of her complaint had to do with inappropriate touching, as well as a hostile work environment based on her gender. During the civil case, it was revealed that Mr. Thomas and Knicks point guard, Stephon Marbury, regularly referred to Ms. Sanders as a “bitch.”

What was most telling about Mr. Thomas was a videotape of his pre-trial deposition in which he stated that it wasn’t okay for a White man to refer to a Black woman as a "bitch." However, he did see a distinction, when a Black man was the one making the remark to a Black woman. He didn’t feel it was equally offensive. After the videotape aired in court, Mr. Thomas left the courthouse and begged the media to explain to viewers that the comments weren’t really reflective of his opinion on calling women a “bitch” and who can throw around the name.

I’ve never been called a “bitch” by a man or woman at work. But, I don’t imagine a scenario where I would tolerate either a man or a woman making that comment. Those are fighting words. If a conversation degenerates to name-calling…it works both ways.


Have you ever been called a “bitch” by a man at work? Was he White or Black? Were you offended by the remark on its own or was your reaction related to the race of the man doing the name-calling? Have you been called a "bitch" by a female coworker?

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IN THE NEWS: Boot Camp Death Trial in Full Swing

BACKGROUND: On January 5, 2006, Martin Lee Anderson, a 14-year old Black teen, was placed into a Florida boot camp by his parents. Martin was eligible to be placed in a minimum security boot camp, but that boot camp was located hours away from his family/home. As a result, Martin’s parents decided to place him at another boot camp, which was close enough for them to visit or to see their son, if there any problems came up.

Only ONE day after entering the boot camp, Martin was dead. Martin was restrained by guards, kneed, hit in the arms, held on the ground, etc. all because he supposedly didn’t want to participate in exercises…complaining of being tired.

Unless you live under a rock or don’t watch national news, you’ve probably seen videotape footage of young Martin being restrained by a number of police officers at the camp—all while a nurse watched. At no point did the nurse intervene or even check Martin’s vital signs, even when he had to be held up because he couldn’t stay on his feet. The videotape clearly shows officers hitting Martin, even as he was clearly incapacitated—face in the ground. The officers say that juveniles frequently pretend to be sick and they thought Martin was playing around to avoid exercising.

But, Martin Anderson died. The first autopsy listed the cause of death as being related to Martin’s sickle cell trait. Everyone at the boot camp says they had no idea he had sickle cell trial and they say he died because of a form of sickle cell exertion.

A second autopsy, performed at the request of Governor Jeb Bush, lists suffocation as the cause of death. Seven guards (4 White, 2 Black, and 1 Asian) and one nurse (White) have been charged with aggravated manslaughter and other charges.

The case has strong racial overtones because many Blacks feel the State of Florida (including the first coroner) tried to engage in a cover-up to deny responsibility for the child’s death. Race is also a factor because not a single Black person was placed on the jury, leading some to think that the jury was stacked in favor of the defendants, who are predominately White.

Most Blacks don’t believe that the case would have unfolded the way it has, if Martin were a White boy. For instance, Martin Anderson’s family had to sue to have the videotape of his abuse released to the public. The family had to arrange a protest in Washington, DC in order to force the appointment of a special/independent prosecutor. And, the family had to fight for a second autopsy to be conducted.


I think it’s very telling that all of the civil lawsuits brought against various Florida agencies were already settled BEFORE the trial even began. Normally someone is tried and convicted or acquitted of a crime before a wrongful death civil case moves forward or a settlement is reached. However, in this case, with the victim being a child, palpable outrage was expressed by residents of Florida, as well as by general citizens of the United States. According to the lawyers for Martin Anderson’s parents, they’ve even received calls—expressing sympathy and anger--from residents of foreign countries including Australia, England, and France.

I think anyone who’s seen the videotaped abuse of Martin Anderson—by 7 adults, who were entrusted with his care—can see that the officers involved used excessive force on a sick child. It’s also evident that the nurse, who stood there and watched the abuse that led to Martin’s death, exercised gross negligence in performing her duties. A nurse is not supposed to stand as a witness to murder, yet this “woman” did stand there as a child was dying before her eyes.

If these individuals are sincere, when they say they thought Martin Anderson was faking, when he was ACTUALLY dying, they should all be forced to resign their positions and they should seek other work. These individuals failed Martin Anderson and his family and they caused his death. It’s convenient to blame sickle cell trait as the sole reason this child died. But, I personally don’t believe it’s truthful. Even if you want to say Martin’s death wasn’t caused by the abuse and force being put on him by the guards (including repeatedly covering his mouth while forcing him to breathe ammonia capsules through his nose), the stress and abuse he suffered that day surely contributed to his death—at the very least.

I watched part of the criminal trial on CourtTV and was completely disgusted, but not shocked, to see Martin Anderson raked over the coals. This child was repeatedly referred to as an “offender” to prejudice the jury. See, Martin’s dead. That means he can’t take the witness stand to talk about what happened that day. So, it’s open season on Martin Anderson and his family. He’s an offender and not a child. Pictures of Martin looking much older than his 14 years are being shown to make it appear that Martin was comparable to a man and, therefore, it was justified to man-handle him on the day he died.

Even Black children get the smear job, when they’ve been killed by those with authority over them—those who are supposed to serve and protect according to the rules of law. Martin was failed by the system and by individuals.

But, some good has come from his death. Governor Bush signed into legislation, the Martin Lee Anderson Act which replaces boot camps with juvenile facilities that focus more on education and counseling than discipline and punishment.

Thanks to pressure from Martin’s family and protesters, the State of Florida has already paid up and made some reforms to the juvenile system. Before the criminal trial, they’ve essentially acknowledged Martin’s wrongful death and the need for change.

Now, what remains to be seen is whether individuals will be held accountable for Martin’s death. What will the criminal justice system do for this child? What verdict will this all White jury return in the case?

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MARTIN ANDERSON CASE? Post a comment or send an email to


Friday, October 05, 2007

Blogger Under the Weather!

This has been a bad week for me, regarding health issues. I've been hit with allergy, sinus, and migraine problems. I'll try to have my stuff together by the end of the weekend. I'll be back blogging on Tuesday, since I will be unavailable on Columbus Day (Monday).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Black Factor's Legal Briefs

From time to time I’ll include posts called Legal Briefs, which provide updates on workplace discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation lawsuits that have been recently filed or settled in civil court. The point is to let readers know what types of race-related cases have been filed and settled, as well as to provide a look at some of the legal language that is used by complainants in those cases. But, even more importantly, the legal briefs can help confirm that some of the issues readers are facing are in fact happening to other Blacks around the country and that these actions are often illegal.

I’ve been on the receiving end of questionable activities by an employer. So, I know that Black workers go through this mental back and forth…wondering if they are being sensitive or if they are blowing things out of proportion—as we are inevitably accused of by our supervisors or employers. I also know that we often wonder whether actions taken against us are illegal or if employers are within their rights to engage in certain activities.

For instance, in the last legal brief on a race discrimination case settled between Nike (Niketown-Chicago) and over 400 Black employees, the complainants alleged that Nike denied employment benefits to African-American employees by predominately hiring African-Americans into part-time rather than full-time positions and by denying appropriate benefits to those who, though officially part-time, worked enough hours to be entitled to full-time benefits.

I worked for one of the nation’s biggest department store chains, here in New York. Reading that blurb on Nike was like reading my complaints about this megastore. I went in for a job and supposedly only part-time jobs were available. The hours were so few that there weren’t any benefits involved with the position. But, I wanted to work. Anyway, almost immediately I was being asked to work until closing at the store (5 days a week) and I was being asked to work 10-11 hours on Saturday and Sunday.

You can see how the hours were piling up. I immediately wondered why I was listed as part-time, when I was working full-time hours. And, I wondered why there weren’t any benefits. Another worker warned me not to complain about not having benefits. She said that if I complained or asked about the hours, all of my hours would be cut and I would barely be given enough hours to warrant coming in at all.

What was really troubling about this megastore was that as I went floor-to-floor and looked at the staff, I saw that most of the people working on the floors were Black, Hispanic/Latino or Asian (Middle Eastern). Almost all of us were in these part-time jobs, but were working nearly full-time hours. In fact, my supervisor made it a point to mention (in a staff meeting) that only 2 of her 16 subordinates were full-time and that everyone else was part-time and was not eligible for benefits. She said that if we had a problem with that, we could find other work. She was supposed to be doing us all a favor by giving us hours—even without the benefits that would be required by this regular schedule.

I was out of there with a quickness because of this and other problems. However, other employees were trying to convince me that there wasn’t a legal issue with this megastore having almost all part-time staff (mainly minorities) working full-time schedules, but not receiving benefits. They thought it was up to the company’s discretion to make the decision on benefits.

You can call it common sense or not—that if you are working full-time you are entitled to benefits. However, common sense isn’t always common. Many people don’t know their rights and don’t want to challenge a systematic disregard for their rights.

If you look at the Niketown post, you will see that employer’s engaging in this practice may be liable for damages, if they are placing minorities into positions such as this and then are denying them their legally required benefits. This behavior may be illegal and should be questioned. Seeing the Niketown settlement just made my heart go out for everyone placed in the position of working their a**es off for peanuts and not getting the benefits they’ve earned through their sweat and dedication to their job. I felt that that job was a step above working on a plantation. We had absolutely no rights and no respect. And, the employees didn’t want to contact the union about it or make any waves because they desperately needed their jobs and were fearful of complaining.

I got out of there. Still, a chill ran down my spine seeing the same issue at the Niketown store with more than 400 employees raising the same complaint. As a result, I’d recommend that you don’t just skim the legal briefs. Really take a look at the allegations being filed. You might see some similarities to your own issues at work—even issues that you may not have realized were illegal. The legal briefs also provide a snapshot of the legal arguments used and of the legalese—the language—associated with certain violations of law/statutes.

If you are seeing similarities to the cases in the Legal Briefs, there might be language you can use or arguments you can make that more clearly represent your issues—from a legal standpoint. Of course, you aren’t looking at the cases and making false claims. But, you can definitely use the cases to assist you with your wording, improving your understanding of law, and to further develop your complaint by citing similar examples of illegal conduct.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

LEGAL BRIEFS: Chicago's Niketown Finally Settles in Race Discrimination Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit was filed against Niketown (Chicago, IL) in 1999 alleging race-based discrimination. The lawsuit (filed by more than 400 African American employees) alleged that Nike discriminated against and continues to discriminate against its African-American employees and managers at Niketown Chicago by:

• Subjecting African-American employees and managers to a hostile working environment created by harassing activities, including the use of racial epithets; accusations and coercive interrogations regarding alleged thefts and misuse of employee discounts; greater scrutiny and monitoring of African-American employees and managers than given to their Caucasian co-workers, including extensive “check-out” searches upon leaving the store; and greater scrutiny and monitoring of African-American customers than Caucasian customers.

They also say that Nike has unlawfully discriminated against its non-managerial African-American employees at Niketown Chicago by:

• Segregating its African-American employees into its lowest level and worst-paid jobs in the stockroom and cashier positions.

• Denying African-American employees equal opportunity for promotions to more attractive positions.

• Applying workplace rules and giving out discipline–up to and including termination–in a racially biased manner.

• Denying employment benefits to African-American employees by predominately hiring African-Americans into part-time rather than full-time positions and by denying appropriate benefits to those who, though officially part-time, worked enough hours to be entitled to full-time benefits.

Nike denies all wrongdoing. However, both the parties involved agreed to a settlement which was preliminarily approved by the Court on July 30, 2007. The settlement stipulates that Nike will pay $7.6 million to resolve the claims of class members.

In addition to the monetary relief, Nike has agreed to affirmative relief including: a Court appointed Diversity Consultant to monitor and periodically report to the Court regarding Niketown Chicago’s compliance with the Consent Decree; appointment of a Compliance Officer at Nike’s World Headquarters; designation of an Ombudsperson at Niketown Chicago; diversity training of all supervisors and managers at Niketown Chicago; the creation of store-wide objectives focused on providing equal employment opportunities for all employees; creation of a formal mentoring program for African-American employees; the review and revision of Niketown Chicago’s human resources practices; and review and revision of Niketown Chicago’s loss prevention practices to eliminate any disparate treatment of African-American employees and customers.

Sources: and

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Supreme Court Back in Session: Taking on Crack Cocaine

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court is heading back in session, they will be dealing with a number of controversial issues. One of those issues will require the court to decide whether sentences given out in crack cases are harsher than sentences given out in cocaine cases.

There have long been claims that crack dealers receive harsher sentences than cocaine dealers. Some believe that the sentencing disparity is caused by Federal guidelines that more harshly punish Blacks for drug offenses.

According to estimates, more than four-fifths of crack offenders are Black. Conversely, only about one-fourth of cocaine offenders are Black. Spelled out, almost seventy-five percent of cocaine offenses are committed by non-Blacks (read: those who are White or some other race). However, under Federal guidelines, many Whites will qualify for lesser prison sentences.

A 1986 law was passed in response to violent crimes committed to get money to feed crack habits. The law includes what critics have called the 100-to-1 disparity: Trafficking in 5 grams of crack cocaine carries a mandatory five-year prison sentence, but it takes 500 grams of cocaine powder to warrant the same sentence. Thus, the disparity in sentencing guidelines was born.

The sentencing commission, an independent agency within the U.S. judiciary, voted (in May) to reduce the recommended sentencing ranges for people convicted of crack possession, a step toward lessening the disparity. The recommendation will become effective Nov. 1 unless Congress acts.
I’ll post any updates on this issue in the future.


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Noose Hung in Long Island, NY Police Station

Looks like the dreaded noose is on a roll. The latest noose incident involves a noose that was found hanging in a Long Island, NY police station. The police station is one of the most diverse police departments in the state, prompting claims that such a despicable act is “out of character” for the community.

No one is sure why the noose was hung. However, there are two theories. The first theory is that the noose was hung in response to a Black man being recently promoted to deputy chief. The second theory is that someone is angry about a push to recruit more minorities to the force. Whatever the reason, the noose was found hanging in the men’s locker room. Only police officers have access to the room.

So, a member of law enforcement, responsible for protecting those in his community (including many Blacks), is bold enough to commit a hate crime at his place of work. No word of what—if any—evidence was collected at the scene of the noose hanging.

Source: NY Daily News

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